Further to my post on my progression to barefoot shoes, I am going to talk about the "barefoot" shoes that I have been running in for awhile.
This Nike Air Zoom Streak XC 2 was bought from Running Warehouse for US$56.94. Frankly, it is more of a racing flat than a barefoot shoe, as its heel is 21mm thick and its forefoot, 18mm thick. In comparison, the Inov-8 Bare-X Lite 150 has a 7mm heel and forefoot - thinner and even throughout.
It has a full mesh upper, and a size 9 weighs 5.4oz. The interesting thing is that the Inov-8 Bare-X Lite 150 looks like it has a full mesh upper as well, but shoes of the same size reportedly weigh 6.1oz.
The mesh upper of the XC 2 looks fragile, and I reckon there is a chance that it may tear if some twigs or shrubs catch on to the holes in the mesh. If you use them indoors, or on the road or trails, the mesh upper should hold. After two years of treadmill running indoors, the mesh upper on my shoes is still intact.
You may have to wear socks with the shoes though, as the material underneath the toe box put blisters on my toes when I went sockless.
When I run in the XC 2, it feels light, and not thick and clumpy - the thicker sole is not that noticeable when running. It is only when walking that you would probably feel the thickness, especially the thickness of the heel. Something that adds to the thickness and foot padding is the non-removable insole, which is noticeable in comparison to my insole-less Nike Waffle Racer V.
Traction on wet gravel is slightly better than that of the Nike Waffle Racer V, but at the end of the day it is not a trail shoe and still feels a little slippery on wet roads. I recommend sticking to dry surfaces in these.
Something strange / annoying (?) about the sole of the XC 2 though, is that as it started wearing down from my running on the treadmill, black rubbery bits would fall off and gather on the floor at the end of the treadmill. I do not remember experiencing this with any other shoes that I have worn.
In terms of bendiness, the Nike Zoom Streak XC 2 is not very flexible and this was the furthest that I felt I could safely push it. I might have been able to fold the shoe into two, but didn't dare try in case the sole cracked. Neverthless I have not experienced any problems with the limited flexibility... one's feet do not bend to that extreme anyway.
Despite the XC 2 not being "barefoot", I have enjoyed running in it. It is one of the lightest pairs of shoes I have owned, and the kind I would want to wear on a plane or road trip.
If you are interested in the Nike Air Zoom Streak XC 2, unfortunately it is no longer available at Running Warehouse as it was discontinued in June 2011 and superseded by the Streak XC 3 (which should have about the same feel). However a gorgeous neon green version of the XC 2 is still available at Amazon.com for US$65.00 - $78.90.